From the polls to the punters, the re-election of the Morrison Government came as a shock to all of us. As the Government gets down to business, who is there to look out for the rivers?
Ministerial Portfolios affecting water management and environment have changed. The water ministry is no longer positioned with agriculture; instead its paired with drought, natural disasters and emergency response.
Likewise the pairing with the environment ministry has changed. Prior to the 2019 election, the environment ministry was held with the energy portfolio. It now stands on its own.
Sussan Ley MP – Federal Minister for Environment
Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley has received the stand alone Environment portfolio after former Minister Melissa Price kept tight lips during the election campaign.
Sussan Ley’s electorate extends throughout the Riverina from Albury, along the Murray river to the SA border, and then up the Murrumbidgee to Griffith, she represents the heartland of river country.
Ley understands the importance of water but in early days of her ministry she has aligned her interests firmly with irrigation.
On the first day back after the election she stated her “focus is to protect the value of irrigators assets.” Last year she led the calls for irrigators to access environmental water and has advocated for a reduction in water recovery through the Basin Plan to 2,100 GL, half of what the CSIRO recommended in 2012.
As the Minister responsible for the Environment, she needs to recognise there are no jobs on a dead river. We are facing an environmental crisis, ecosystems are collapsing on the Darling River and without a strong policy response the Murray and Murrumbidgee could be next.
The only thing that will safe guard communities into the future is a living, thriving river system. We must strengthen the Basin Plan, fix implementation and smoke out the corruption that is destroying life in the Basin.
In her first week in office, Sussan Ley said she wants to hear from people in the Murray Darling. So pick up the phone and tell the Environment Minister to put the environment first, protect the rivers to protect ourselves. We cannot exist without them.
Contact the Minister on (02) 6277 7970 or print and post her a dead fish here
David Littleproud MP – Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management.
The returning Water Minister, David Littleproud, has taken on new responsibilities with drought, natural disasters & emergencies. The merging of these portfolios confirms what has long been known out in the regions - the country is facing an ongoing catastrophe in water management.
Recognition of the crisis along our rivers is well over due, but it will take more than a ministerial title to build trust amongst the communities suffering from failed water management.
Wasting no time, Littleproud announced an ACCC inquiry into the southern water market which has been subject to extreme prices and no water allocation. No doubt there is something fishy happening in water management with implications across the entire Basin. But regional water management cannot be assessed in isolation, and prioritising the southern Basin while there are communities not only with no allocation, but no river at all!
The Murray Darling Basin is an interconnected system, is it any surprise the Murray and southern basin is under stress, while the Darling is non existent? We need to fix the Darling, watch effects ripple across the Basin, and then re-assess the southern water market.
Following the election we are ramping up our efforts to engage communities and campaign for our rivers.
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